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The Pandemic and Me: Cate Small.

Helllloooo lovely people. It is week 3 of our interview series, 'The Pandemic and Me' and this week we are chatting to a very special guest indeed. Cate Small is a key worker who has had a very unique, first-hand experience of the pandemic. Her roles within the NHS have meant she has faced the challenges of helping Covid patients on a daily basis, whilst also taking on new duties at work, having to adapt quickly and efficiently in both instances. Thank you so much Cate for chatting to us- we think you're a true hero.

NAME: Cate Small 

LOCATION: North East of England 

JOB: Organisation Development Practitioner/ Registered Nurse 

Hey there! Can you tell us a little about yourself and what you do for work?

Hi I’m Cate, I’m 52 years of age and I am married with two children, both girls- one is 25 and is a school teacher, the other is nearly 21 and finishing off her degree at Manchester University. I have two dogs and a cat- all three are girls too!

I started my nurse training when I was 18 in Leeds and worked clinically in theatres for over 15 years. I moved into clinical education about 15 years ago and then moved into Organisation Development about 7 years ago.

Organisation Development has lots of elements to it, such as service improvement, leadership, team building, personality diagnostics and engaging and supporting staff. We have recently taken on staff wellbeing as this in now obviously really important due to the pandemic's effect on staff's mental health and wellbeing.

What have you found most challenging in the past year?

The most challenging part of the year was the unknown and how the virus could impact on our health and that of friends and family, personally, and professionally, working in the NHS. It was extremely frightening coming into work at the beginning because we had no idea what was going on and how we could be affected. 

My role quite quickly changed and we as a team offered more frontline clinical services, which was again daunting as we had been out of practice for so long. We were quickly upskilled and quickly began upskilling others in clinical duties. Our role in organisation development involved adapting and developing different services to meet the needs of a pandemic organisation and to support staff.

What’s your life motto?

Feel the fear and do it anyway, what have you got to lose.

How has Covid-19 changed your outlook on life?

Don’t take things for granted, make the most of the smaller things in life, appreciate what others are going through and be helpful and kind. The material things are less important than the people and natural things that are around us. We can do without and less is more. It has also made me realise I am braver than I think. 

How have you been keeping upbeat and positive during this period?

Keeping in touch with family- although it was disappointing for my daughter to have to spend more time away from university, I did get to see her more! The dogs and cat have kept us all fit and are great company- the cat is well known on Teams now and loves to gatecrash my meetings. I also work with a great team of people and we have lots of fun and laughs at work. I have also been really enjoying and appreciating the outside world.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given in life and/or in the past year?

To look after your spirituality, think positive thoughts, think about 3 things that have gone well a day. Acts of kindness make you feel great. Feel the fear and do it anyway.

What 3 things do you look forward to doing most once we are in a safe position to do so?

1). Spending a weekend with my daughter in Manchester before she finishes uni.

2). Having a weekend away with my other daughter.

3). Getting away in my caravan with friends and my dogs.

Plus, having my parents over to stay (sneaky fourth).

How have you practiced self care/self love during this difficult time?

-Walking.

-Talking to friends and family.

-Being kind to myself by being more self-compassionate.

If you were one of our soap bars, which would you be and why? (you can check them out here: https://nuddy.co.uk/collections/soap

Definitely Peppermint- this year has been rather mint-al!

Here’s your chance to give a shoutout to someone who has gotten you through the past few months! What is their name and how have they helped you?

It has got to be my husband Nick, although we have been quite happy to murder each other during lockdown, what with him working from home! We have supported each through all the emotions the pandemic has thrown our way.

A sneaky second person is my daughter Eve, who has grown to be an inspirational source of wisdom and, like her mother, quite frequently plays devil’s advocate to put things into perspective.